Sunspots Vanishing Faster Than Expected

Dr.Tony Phillips,

Sunspots are becoming scarce. Very scarce. So far in 2018 the sun has been blank almost 60% of the time, with whole weeks going by without sunspots. Today’s sun, shown here in an image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, is typical of the featureless solar disk:


The fact that sunspots are vanishing comes as no surprise. Forecasters have been saying for years that this would happen as the current solar cycle (“solar cycle 24”) comes to an end. The surprise is how fast.

“Solar cycle 24 is declining more quickly than forecast,” announced NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center on April 26th. This plot shows observed sunspot numbers in blue vs. the official forecast in red:


“Official” forecasts of the solar cycle come from NOAA’s Solar Cycle Prediction Panel–a group of experts from NOAA, NASA, the US Air Force, universities and other research organizations. They have been convening at intervals since 1989 to predict the timing and intensity of Solar Max. The problem is, no one really knows how to predict the solar cycle. The most recent iteration of the panel in 2006-2008 compared 54 different methods ranging from empirical extrapolations of historical data to cutting-edge supercomputer models of the sun’s magnetic dynamo. None fully described what is happening now. [Ephsas Added]

Full Story is HERE.

We live in interesting times when the sun is not acting as expected. That makes every day the sun shines an interesting event. Stay tuned, this is going to be a fun time for solar and cosmic ray observers.

The most important change, however, may be the increase in cosmic rays. Flagging solar wind pressure during solar minimum allows cosmic rays from deep space to penetrate the inner solar system. Right now, space weather balloons and NASA spacecraft are measuring an uptick in radiation due to this effect. Cosmic rays may alter the chemistry of Earth’s upper atmosphere, trigger lightning, and seed clouds.



Cosmic Rays Continue To Intensify As Historic Solar Minimum Approaches

Meteorologist Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc.

All indications are that the upcoming solar minimum which is expected to begin in 2019 may be even quieter than the last one which was the deepest in nearly a century. One of the natural impacts of decreasing solar activity is the weakening of the ambient solar wind and its magnetic field which, in turn, allows more and more cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system. The intensification of cosmic rays can have important consequences on such things as Earth’s cloud cover and climate, the safety of our astronauts exploring in space, and lightning.


Daily observations of the number of sunspots since 1 January 1900 according to Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). The thin blue line indicates the daily sunspot number, while the dark blue line indicates the running annual average. The recent low sunspot activity is clearly reflected in the recent low values for the total solar irradiance. Data source: WDC-SILSO, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels. Last day shown: 28 February 2018. Last diagram update: 1 March 2018. (Credit

The Full article is HERE.

Anthony Watts at WUWT has some more graphical input and links to other supporting information on the

Approaching ‘grand solar minimum’ could cause global cooling



How Activity On The Sun Could Change The Economy

Forbes: Simon Constable reviews Nature’s Third Cycle: A Story of Sunspots by Arnab Rai Choudhuri.

But what has become more apparent based on more recent research from NASA is that we are now in a period of very few or no sunspots. This has coincided with the brutal winter we are going through now.

The question is whether we will enter another grand solar minimum just like the Maunder minimum which if history is a guide would mean a period of much colder weather winters and summers. More than a few experts with whom I speak regularly believe that we shall enter such a grand minimum along with the resulting bone-chilling weather.

If that happens, then there will be profound influences on the economy, including possible crop failures and rising energy use for home and workplace heating. Or in other words, expect bigger bills for food and energy. After a period in which the supply of both has been increasingly abundant then this change will likely come as a shock to many people and likely the broader global economy as well.

Read the full article HERE.



The Worsening Cosmic Ray Situation

Cosmic rays are bad–and they’re getting worse. That’s the conclusion of a new paper just published in the research journal Space Weather. The authors, led by Prof. Nathan Schwadron of the University of New Hampshire, show that radiation from deep space is dangerous and intensifying faster than previously predicted.

Full Article is here.

How does this affect us? Cosmic rays penetrate commercial airlines, dosing passengers and flight crews so much that pilots are classified by the International Commission on Radiological Protection as occupational radiation workers. Some research shows that cosmic rays can seed clouds and trigger lightning, potentially altering weather and climate. Furthermore, there are studies […] linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias in the general population.

Cosmic rays will intensify even more in the years ahead as the sun plunges toward what may be the deepest Solar Minimum in more than a century. Stay tuned for updates.

If cosmic rays increase cloud cover, this could be how the cooling takes place during grand minimums. We are going to have an opportunity to observe one. Your thoughts?

7 New (2017) Papers Forecast Global Cooling, Another Little Ice Age Will Begin Soon

Kenneth Richards at No Tricks Zone

During 2017, 120 papers linking historical and modern climate change to variations in solar activity and its modulators (clouds, cosmic rays) have been published in scientific journals.

It has been increasingly established that low solar activity (fewer sunspots) and increased cloud cover (as modulated by cosmic rays) are highly associated with a cooling climate.

In recent years, the Earth has unfortunately left a period of very high solar activity, the Modern Grand Maximum. Periods of high solar activity correspond to multi-decadal- to centennial-scale warming.

Solar scientists are now increasingly forecasting a period of very low activity that will commence in the next few years (by around 2020 to 2025). This will lead to climate cooling, even Little Ice Age conditions.

Thirteen recently-published papers, seven new papers, forecasting global cooling are listed HERE: References to Dalton and Maunder Minimums.


Cosmic Rays Modulate Cloud Cover

A new paper by Henrik Svensmark in Nature Communications.

The hypothesis in a nutshell

• Cosmic rays, high-energy particles raining down from exploded stars, knock electrons out of air molecules. This produces ions, that is, positive and negative molecules in the atmosphere.

• The ions help aerosols – clusters of mainly sulphuric acid and water molecules – to form and become stable against evaporation. This process is called nucleation. The small aerosols need to grow nearly a million times in mass in order to have an effect on clouds.

• The second role of ions is that they accelerate the growth of the small aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei – seeds on which liquid water droplets form to make clouds. The more ions the more aerosols become cloud condensation nuclei. It is this second property of ions which is the new result published in Nature Communications.

• Low clouds made with liquid water droplets cool the Earth’s surface.

• Variations in the Sun’s magnetic activity alter the influx of cosmic rays to the Earth.

• When the Sun is lazy, magnetically speaking, there are more cosmic rays and more low clouds, and the world is cooler.

• When the Sun is active fewer cosmic rays reach the Earth and, with fewer low clouds, the world warms up.

• The implications of the study suggests that the mechanism can have affected:

• The climate changes observed during the 20th century

• The coolings and warmings of around 2°C that have occurred repeatedly over the past 10,000 years, as the Sun’s activity and the cosmic ray influx have varied.

• The much larger variations of up to 10°C occurring as the Sun and Earth travel through the Galaxy visiting regions with varying numbers of exploding stars.

More details at WUWT.

High Energy Cosmic Rays Not From Our Galaxy



This sky map shows the flux of high-energy (E ≥ 8 EeV) cosmic rays used for this study. The cross marks the source of the cosmic rays, while the circles denote the 68% and 95% confidence level regions.
The Pierre Auger Collaboration.


Last week, an international team of over 400 researchers from 18 nations finally confirmed that high-energy cosmic rays are not coming from inside the Milky Way Galaxy, but instead from somewhere beyond.

In the study, published September 22 in the journal Science, the researchers gathered over ten years of data taken with the Pierre Auger Observatory to determine whether high-energy cosmic rays were hitting Earth equally from all directions. They are not.

Instead, the researchers found an overabundance of cosmic rays arriving from one specific region in the sky, located about 120 degrees away from our galactic center, in a direction that falls outside the Milky Way’s disk and cannot be associated with any possible sources within the galaxy. The researchers concluded that high-energy cosmic rays must have extragalactic origins.


Since high-energy cosmic rays have been associated with cloud formation, I was wondering if the cosmic ray numbers fluxed, or were they a stable stream? If the number was stable, the impact would be the same on cloud formation. However, if they varied over time, the cosmic rays could impact our climate from afar? Does anyone have more information, access to the paper?

Little Ice Age Explained

By Terry Mejdrich

Sunspots are huge magnetic storms on the sun that can be thousands of miles in diameter. They appear as dark spots because their temperature is slightly cooler than the surrounding surface. They are present when the sun goes through the “active” phase of its approximately 11-year cycle. Currently, the sun is generating tremendous solar storms, an indication of increased intensity of its magnetic field.

Typically, the sun goes from no storms at all to a ferocious period of activity every 11 years. Scientists do not have a clear explanation for why this variability occurs, but likely it is a result of fluctuating convection currents within the sun. Outbursts of superheated plasma from solar storms can cause problems on Earth if the Earth happens to be in the line of fire, interfering with the electronics of satellites and communications. But the sun’s strong magnetic field, of which sunspots are a byproduct, is a vital necessity for protecting life on Earth from cosmic radiation.

In effect, the sun’s magnetic field creates a shield that greatly reduces the amount of harmful radiation reaching the Earth from outer space. But it also, in an indirect way, helps maintain a stable climate, at least according to a recent hypothesis.

The period from about 1650 to 1710 is known at the “Little Ice Age.” Not every year during that period was colder than average, but overall the temperature dropped an average of about two degrees Fahrenheit in the Northern Hemisphere. Two degrees doesn’t sound like much, but it led to crop failures, food shortages and social unrest, particularly in Europe. The Thames River, which flows through London, England, froze over during winter months. Scientists have speculated on reasons why this period of cooling occurred. Some suggested reasons include increased volcanic activity, shifting ocean currents, as well as a dip in the amount of light and heat the sun produced.

Modern measurements, however, have shown that the sun’s light and heat output remain nearly constant with little difference, even during times of increased solar storms. And yet observations by science-minded people of the time indicate that during the Little Ice Age, sunspot activity was almost completely absent. Researchers have wondered if it was mere coincidence that the reduced sunspot activity coincided with a noticeable drop in average temperatures, but if there was a connection, it had eluded them.

Now, a few scientists believe they have found that connection. Their reasoning goes like this: During a protracted solar minimum, which occurred during the Little Ice Age, the sun’s magnetic field becomes weaker (as evidenced by reduced sunspot activity). This allows more cosmic rays to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere. The cosmic rays interact with molecules and atoms in the atmosphere creating microscopic grains of “dust.” These particles attract water vapor, creating tiny droplets of water, which enhances the development of clouds. (Every raindrop forms around a microscopic particle. Without such airborne particulates, there would be no rain.) Increased cloud cover blocks a corresponding amount of solar radiation, thereby decreasing the temperature. This is the scenario now being proposed as the reason for the Little Ice Age.

Further research is required to verify this hypothesis. But it does explain the “coincidence” of a period of virtually no sunspot activity and a period of cooling in the Northern Hemisphere.

The other point of note is the degree to which Earth’s climate changed with just a two-degree reduction in temperature. Presently, average temperatures are rising worldwide, and the consequences are already evident.

Your opinion is most welcome. Does this theory hold up?

Solar Minimum in 2019-2020

According to the NASA Video below the next solar minimum is on the way and should arrive by 2019

As the next solar minimum is exposed by time, I will be focusing more on this event and its potential impact on the climate and our daily lives.

One of the events associated with a quiet sun in the increased number of high-energy cosmic rays that can reach the earth and it’s atmosphere. These cosmic rays are mention in the video. and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus project have been tracking the increase in cosmic rays since 2015 When the number of sunspots started to decline. and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly “down to Earth” form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes.


See Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere at for more details.